Skip to main content

Method Acting and Headshot Photography

By January 21, 2016September 27th, 2017No Comments

I was at a party over the festive season and started chatting to an actor about the acting business, invariably when they learned I was a headshot photography we got onto that subject.

We’d been talking a while and they were keen to know my thoughts on what makes a good headshot and what techniques I used for helping actors out. Then they said something quite interesting about my approach to headshots; “so essentially it’s method acting?” I thought about it for a while and realised that yes, my approach to getting the best out of actor was like method acting and headshot photography.

nick Gregan headshot photographer

Method acting and headshot photography combine for a great headshot that contains, emotion, personality and connectivity.

Method acting isn’t anything new.

The great Greek philosopher Aristotle said ‘that the secret to moving the passions in others is to be moved oneself, and that moving oneself is made possible by bringing to the fore visions of experiences from life’.

What I try to do with every client who stands in front of my lens is draw out of them their own experiences in the form of the characters I ask them to be. Obviously the more they ‘get into it’ the more they get out of it – headshots full of emotion and character.

Lee Strasberg the father of method acting said ‘method acting is what all actors have always done whenever they acted well’.

Strasberg’s quote sounds simple and it is, but the tricky thing is applying it to your every performance

Famous method actors like Marlon Brando, Robert De

50 tips for a perfect headshot by Nick Gregan

I call this my Hollywood headshot, it has great personality, emotion and connectivity. Method acting and headshot photography.

Niro, Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Kate Winslet to name just a few have produced stunning award winning performances. They also do it on a regular basis, so how can you as an actor make sure ‘you bring it all’ to your headshot session?

In my new book ’50 Tips For A Perfect Headshot’ I talk about it in several Tips, here’s a brief except from one of them;

Your headspace is crucial to ensuring successful results from your session. Preparing your mind before the session will help tremendously, even visualising the possible scenarios. How many times have we seen professional sports people visualising their every move before a contest? If they do it there’s a good reason to do it so why not approach your headshot session the same way? Again, it’s about marginal gains, visualising positive scenarios can have a calming effect, reduce stress, build confidence and help bring more success to your acting.

Obviously I’m not an acting coach nor am I an actor but I am an excellent headshot photographer. I deal with actors everyday – and I often say to actors who are struggling to produce their best for the camera – “imagine you are a model, play that role and work the camera”. I can’t tell you what transformation these few words bring, for some reason the actor goes into acting mode and suddenly starts to produce on a different level.

I’m well aware that when performing in role an actor is hidden behind the ‘comfortable cloak of character’ and anything is possible. However as soon as that cloak is stripped away their insecurities and doubts start to creep in, they become overly self-aware and that’s when it starts to fall apart for them.

This is why I like to use scenarios, why I like to give actors characters to play or get them to perform a role they’ve done before. It takes their mind off themselves, it allows them to use the ‘cloak of character’ and deliver the emotion and personality that is crucial in a great headshot.

So what is method acting and headshot photography? – it’s my method!

Leave a Reply


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)